A $12 million penalty is imposed on Bank of America (BofA) for the acts of submitting false mortgage lending information to the federal government for at least four years, the federal consumer financial protection agency said Tuesday.
In a release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said hundreds of BofA loan officers failed to ask mortgage applicants certain demographic questions as required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and then falsely reported that the applicants had chosen not to respond.
HMDA requires mortgage lenders to report information about loan applications and originations to the bureau and other federal regulators. CFPB said the information may be used by the public and regulators to monitor whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities, and to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.
But the bureau maintained that the bank’s HMDA data collection practices submitted false data, including, CFPB alleged, falsely reporting that mortgage applicants were declining to answer demographic questions.
The agency said that conduct violated HMDA and its implementing regulation, Regulation C, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
In addition to the $12 million fine, the agency said, the CFPB order requires BofA to “to take steps to avoid its illegal mortgage data reporting practices.”
CFPB also noted that the $2.4 trillion bank has paid numerous fines and penalties over the last two years, totaling $447 million, including the fine announced Tuesday ($212 million this year, $235 million in 2022).